Britax B-Agile Double Review
We were really looking forward to reviewing the B-Agile Double, because last year we had the B-Agile Single, which worked brilliantly for our then 3 year old. It had a comfy, large seat with good leg length and we thought she looked very comfortable in the B-Agile single. Our then 15 month old son was less comfortable a year ago, but we hoped that a years growth would make a difference.
Interestingly, in many ways, we found the double B-Agile much easier to use than the single.
My first impression of the B-Agile double was that it was very light. I pulled it out of the box really easily and it is no problem to carry the B-Agile with one hand! Part of this is due to the very neat fold which all feels solid with a good autolock in place. For a double pushchair, this is refreshing because double pushchairs are often unwieldy beasts to get in and out of the car and the house. The quality seems to be excellent with good fabrics, sturdy frame and firm handlebar. We like that the raincover and the car seat adaptors are all included in the box. The B-Agile looks and feels great.
Travel System Option
I want to start by mentioning that one of the biggest selling points of the Britax B-Agile Double is that it can take one Britax Baby-Safe infant carrier on the right hand side of the pushchair. It is quite hard to find a side by side pushchair that easily takes a car seat without big bulky adaptors. In fact, I am hard pressed to think of a side by side that is so easy to put a car seat onto. So this option is really worth noting.
The Click & Go car seat adaptors are included in the box and they fit simply down the side of the right hand seat. The instructions suggest removing the seat fabric when a car seat is used, but we have seen photos of the B-Agile Double with the fabrics left in situ, and with the car seat attached. In real life, the ideal would be to be able to use the Britax car seat for quick outings, and the main seat unit for longer outings.
There is no safety approved carrycot option for the B-Agile Double, but the seat lies flat, thus it is suitable from birth.
The fold is another huge selling point of the B-Agile Double, hence it being discussed here early on. The B-Agile Double has a really simple fold. It does take two hands, but it is quick and easy and at the end you are left with a very neat package. I have to say the B-Agile Double has been a pleasure both to store at home, but also to lift in and out of the car – again I can’t stress this being an advantage enough! The B-Agile Double freestands when folded if the handlebar is rotated forwards. This gives a solid base to stand the B-Agile Double. We haven’t worried for example about our 2 year old pulling it over.
The fold itself is very nifty. Simply press in the button on the side above the fold lock - it is a press in and move upwards motion, until the button holds in the new position. Then simply move to the front, grasp the two black handles in the centre of each seat (behind the harness) and pull, as if pulling the pushchair up into the air. The B-Agile Double very neatly folds to flat and the autolock clicks on. If the pushchair needs to freestand then its probably easiest to set the handlebar to point forwards before folding so that you can simply set the B-Agile Double on its end.
Unfolding has been really easy. In fact I find unfolding the double easier than unfolding the single! I have no idea why! The autolock seemed much more logical to undo than the single pushchair had been. It was easy to undo the fold lock and then the pushchair can be simply pulled apart and stood upon its wheels. The lightness of the pushchair really helps with unfolding.
Seat and Child Comfort
I honestly was looking forward to trying the B-Agile Double because as mentioned at the start, our then 3 year old had looked incredibly comfortable in the seat unit and hoped that a year hence, our son would look comfortable too. The first time we used the B-Agile Double, I was on my own, it was raining and dark and to be honest, usually I would have been mad to take a new pushchair out under those circumstances. But I had set the harnesses up the night before and knew how easy the B-Agile Double was to use. The pushchair was open in seconds and I put the children into the seats fine. They seemed to fit great. The harness was easy to do up and off we went under cover. However within minutes my eldest, now 4, but only 7 centimetres taller than she was last year, was complaining that the seat hurt. She said she didn’t like the fold strap underneath too. Its easy to see in these early photos that she wasn’t happy at all. I was a little taken aback because last year I wrote about the single that she “looked dwarfed in the large seat” and she looked “incredibly comfortable”. This year she was straining to sit upright and was really really getting cross about it. This was a complete first for me as she usually loves trying new pushchairs out. I have to say, I am obsessive about my children being strapped in when in a pushchair, but I sat her down and had a chat, and we decided to try her with no shoulder straps on ie a 3 point harness. Instantly you can see the difference in her face in the first photos. She was much, much happier.
My attention then turned to my son. At the start of the outing, I have to say he looked much more comfortable than he did last year in the Single B-Agile. However, he still looked rather too reclined for my liking. Throughout the first outing that we photographed, I kept tweaking the crotch strap and harness, and my son, to see if I could get him more upright. But I could not. As the photos clearly show, by the end of the outing, our son was nearly horizontal and yet the seat was still upright!! One photo shows him straining to sit up. There are three shoulder harness settings, and after criticism of a previous photo, we ensured that the harnesses were set to the correct height for the children.
On the one hand I was really disappointed, but on the other, after the experiences with the B-Agile single last year, plus the B-Dual which also has an issue with children slumping in the seats, and also after having had numerous conversations about both these pushchairs in the last year, I know it it not just my child that has had slumping / sliding issues with the B-Agile / B-Dual seats. The slumping has happened on all of our outings – no matter what I do to try to stop it.
This one detail has really let this, otherwise brilliant pushchair, down. Given this is the third Britax pushchair that we have had with this issue, I would really urge Britax to take a look at the seating positions for children in their pushchairs.
The seating position does overshadow what otherwise appears to be seats with a good amount of room, and with a good leg length with an ample footrest for even my eldests big feet. My eldest at 107cms tall, does still fit underneath the hood with plenty of room to spare. The harness pads are thick, however there are no crotch pads.
The harnesses themselves are easy ie not fiddly to do up but they do take a firm push to click in and a firm press to release. We liked that there was the option to turn the harness into a 3 point one, but yet in 5 point mode, the shoulder straps stayed firmly onto the clasp ie they didn’t slide off.
The seat recline is a toggle recline which means that in theory the seat can be reclined to any position. We tried to be cautious the first time we reclined the seat because the B-Agile single seat suddenly dropped when reclined. But we were too gentle because it turns out that our B-Agile Double recline is very stiff to do. It is even harder to sit a child upright after being reclined – really hard. It takes a push of the child upright with one hand or shoulder, whilst juggling pulling the straps up with the other hand / hands. We do like the small strap on the rear of the seat to store the toggle straps away neatly.
The B-Agile is AMAZING for storage! There is a huge, all in one basket which has good access from the rear and sides. Best of all there is fantastic access through two zippered access points at the front of the pushchair. When we thought we could fit no more into the basket, we opened the front and popped a big bag in!! Brilliant!! Yes, the child has to move their legs for a minute or so, but given most of the time there is access from the other 3 sides, its no biggie. In fact our eldest thought it was funny. The zips have a practical use as well because they help with the removal of the seat fabric. However we were disappointed to find that there was no way to keep the zipped leg section up (as with the Baby Jogger City Elite) thus Britax have missed an opportunity to provide a sleeping child with some leg support.
On the first outing we photographed Mr BB had met us after work, so he has his work things, we all stuffed coats underneath, plus we had a changing bag, and then we were Christmas shopping as well!!
On top of that the B-Agile Double has two large pockets on the rear of the hoods. These were absolutely brilliant – so useful for drinks, keys, phone, my camera etc. or on our other outings for hats, gloves etc. I think the B-Agile Double is one of the best pushchairs I have used for storage.
The Britax B-Agile Double hoods are similar to the rest of the Britax range. There are two folds of solid fabric, and the third centre panel is mesh. I have to say having used the B-Dual in summer, I did like being able to see the children through the mesh in the middle, however it didn’t keep the overhead sun out of a child’s eyes. Now it is winter, and personally a 2 fold hood for me is not snug enough. When I got the children out of the car on the first outing we photographed, it was raining, and really the hoods did not offer enough protection until I could get both children out and the raincover on. Being honest, here in the UK I see no need for a mesh panel in the hood. A child is more likely to need protection from wind and rain than the sun, and a solid hood can offer good sun protection. The rear of the seat fabric – where the pockets are – does zip off revealing mesh for ventilation for summer which combined with the open front should offer plenty of air movement without needing mesh in the hood too. Plus there is also a mesh covered peekaboo window on the hood as well!!
I think this smaller solid hood would make me want to add something snuggly like a soft cot or baby nest for a newborn baby.
Steering and Handling
The ease of manoeuverability is one of the Britax B-Agile Double pushchairs strengths. It handles superbly even one handed. We went into some very tight spaces in shops, and every time the B-Agile Double managed brilliantly to steer past and around obstacles. It was easy to steer one handed. The only thing that I was not keen on, is that although the handlebar is covered with thick foam, the centre piece, where I naturally held the handle to push one handed, is plastic and more chunky than the rest of the handle. I actually found it a little uncomfortably wide to hold. Our B-Agile Double foam handlebar has split after only a few weeks of use which really is not good enough.
It is worth stressing that the B-Agile Double is 78cms wide. An old standard UK doorway was 76.3cms wide until a few years ago. Thus, the B-Agile may well not fit through all doorways. It literally scraped through our front door with a wiggle. Mr BB refused to let me try with the children in the seats. We have attempted and failed to take the B-Agile onto a bus or a train. It is simply too wide. It actually got wedged on the bus, and the B-Agile Double now bears the scars of attempts to use it in every day life including various scrapes and even a slight crack on a wheel.
Raincover and Bumper Bars
There is a raincover included with the B-Agile Double which adds to the good value for money aspect of this pushchair. The raincover fits on easily and seems to work well.
There are no bumper bars included. However individual bumper bars are available which is great if you have a toddler on one side, and a car seat on the other, or conversely a younger toddler on one side, and an older toddler who wants to nip in and out on the other.
The biggest strengths of the Britax B-Agile Double are in its weight and easy of use. Its easy to pick up one handed; easy to flick open and easy to close. We love the way the B-Agile Double folds so neatly and then freestands in a solid package. The storage is fantastic. The fact that the Britax B-Agile can take one car seat, with the adaptors included, will be a big selling point to many. However the width of the B-Agile will be an issue especially to those who use public transport, or with older front doors. Above all, the seating position of both children was a huge disappointment. We really hope that Britax take a good look at the way children sit in the B-Agile’s – Double and Single – and try to work out how to make both smaller, and larger children sitting more comfortably.
With many thanks to Britax for their help with doing this review.
Other Britax B-Agile Double Reviews: